Despite putting up impressive performances at the 2018 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup qualifiers in Mali last month, Christopher Obekpa, Michael Efevberha and Bryant Mbamalu have all been dropped from Nigeria’s male basketball national team, D’Tigers’ squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games.
While Obekpa, Efevberha and Mbamalu miss out, captain of the team, Ike Diogu tops D’Tigers coach, Alex Nwora’s 12-man list for Gold Coast 2018.
The 34-year-old Diogu, a 2015 AfroBasket winner and veteran of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games leads the team made up of six home and six overseas-based players, while the five other overseas-based players invited by Nwora are relatively unknown.
Hard-working guard Uchenna Ireogbu is set for his D’Tigers debut in Australia after an impressive outing for Stony Brooks in the 2016/17 NCAA season.
He is joined by fellow US-based trio Olantunji Graham, Ofoegbu Chima and Achiuwa Onyekachi. They would join the rest of their teammates in Australia from the US, a statement from the NBBF said.
Completing the list of overseas-based player is Orizu Ifeanyi, who features for the Far Eastern University in the Philippines, while Kano Pillars guard Azuoma Dike leads the home-based stars, which also include his Pillars teammates Abdul Yahaya and Dung Eli Abraham.
Mark Mentors’ Musa Usman, regarded as the biggest rebound specialist on the domestic scene, also made the squad to the Commonwealth Games after missing out on the World Cup qualifiers in Mali last month, while Gombe Bulls duo Abdulwahab Yakubu and Istifanus Sylvanus complete Nwora’s list for the trip to Australia.
D’Tigers, who are in Group B alongside Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are expected to end their camping on March 22, before proceeding on the long trip to Brisbane on March 23, ahead of their opening game against New Zealand on April 6.Nwora will be assisted by Aderemi Adewunmi and Mohammed Abdulrahman.